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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

522                              POLITICAL  SCIENCE.
the most opprobrious terms.    " Ambition joined to idleness
and baseness to pride ; a desire of obtaining riches without
labor,  and an aversion to truth ; flattery, treason,  perfidy
violation of engagements, contempt  of civil duties, fear of
the prince's virtue, hope from his weakness, and above alia
perpetual ridicule cast upon virtue, are, I think, the charac-
teristics by which most courtiers  have  been distinguished,
So true is it that virtue is not the spring of this government."
If  one may unfold  Montesquieu's meaning more clearly
than he has unfolded it himself, he would need to define
more clearly what honor means.    He would find it necessary
to say that instead of being a substitute for  virtue it is a
form of virtue,   that it consists  in a delicate sense of the
value  of character,   and  a high  standard  of character,   It
is not merely  a purpose to conform to  that which public
opinion in the higher classes demands, but to possess within
one's self the conception of a noble character or a character
thought by the individual man to be such, and the intention
to realize  it  in life.    The  man  of honor hates all that is
mean, base or unworthy of a man ; above all, untruthfulness,
unfaithfulness, cowardice, especially moral cowardice, and is
ready to do what is right in spite of all obstacles.    It is not
the sum of virtue, but is an admirable and beautiful side of
it.    Now this ideal of an important quality can thrive best
among those who are cultivated into a delicate sense of right,
by refining literature, high examples, and reverence for God.
If the highest class offers such examples, honor will be more
keen  there than in other classes, if it is corrupt as it was
under Louis XIV. and XV. when Montesquieu lived, or under
Charles II. of England, the meanest of men will proceed from
such a school, however high their birth ; and the common
people amid vulgar employments, by the effect of religious
principles, will have a higher standard by far of real honor
than the nobility.    That a high standard among a nobility
may have great power to elevate  a whole people, to make
them loyal, truthful, courageous, independent, and even un-
mercenary, cannot be questioned; but how can one safely